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Town scraps plan to rezone Medford parcel next to site considered for gaming facility

Brookhaven Town officials have scrapped plans to change the zoning of a Medford parcel that could become part of a video lottery terminal complex.

The town board voted unanimously on Tuesday to withdraw the rezoning proposal, moments before a public hearing was to have been held on the issue. The rezoning would have permitted commercial recreation, including gaming, at a vacant parcel on the south service road near Exit 64 of the Long Island Expressway.

Town officials had proposed changing the zoning of the 9-acre parcel, which has been eyed as a potential addition to an adjacent 23-acre plot that Suffolk County officials are considering for a gaming facility with up to 1,000 video lottery terminals.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said Wednesday the rezoning plan would not be taken up at a later date. "I don't think it's necessary," he said in an interview. "When we have a site plan [for a gaming facility], we'll decide then. But right now, it doesn't look like it needs a rezoning."

The 23-acre parcel already is zoned to allow commercial recreation, which permits gaming, town officials have said. Supporters have said video lottery terminals would add jobs and boost the local economy.

Civic activist MaryAnn Johnston, who opposes the gaming facility, said she was "thrilled" that the rezoning plan had been dropped. She said she feared that such a facility would lead to increased crime.

"It doesn't bring the kind of benefits to a community. It doesn't bring the kind of jobs to a community," she said.

The town board also voted 6-1 to withdraw a proposal to rewrite the town's definition of commercial recreation zones. Among other things, it would have required a special permit for gaming operations.

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